Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of synthetic chemicals that have been in use since the 1940s and are found in a wide array of consumer and industrial products. A key characteristic of PFAS chemicals are the carbon-fluoride bonds which are extremely difficult to break. Hence, the Seeker is interested in finding an environmentally friendly and cost-effective solution for PFAS removal as part of the water treatment process.
This Theoretical Challenge requires only a written proposal.
PFAS is often referred to as a “forever chemical” since it does not break down in nature or with traditional destruction techniques. PFAS have been reported in public and private drinking water systems, wastewater treatment systems, and groundwater.
Since the chemical is a suspected carcinogen in humans, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and many states have health advisory levels for certain PFAS in drinking water. The US EPA plans to propose maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for certain PFAS.
There are already drinking water treatment systems and groundwater remediation systems treating PFAS. If MCLs are established, many water and remediation systems throughout the country will need to add PFAS treatment.
A few technologies are capable of sequestering and separating PFAS from water, however, these procedures are expensive. Therefore, this represents an emerging opportunity and the Seeker would like to identify a more effective and efficient approach to be applied to water treatment and environmental remediation activities.
Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on March 17, 2023.
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